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Project Manager Path

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 29-09-2013, 09:05 PM
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Default Project Manager Path

Looking for some opinions (and advice more than welcomed) on my career path. A little background info first:

28 year old male
NTU Electrical and Electronics Graduate (Pass only. Uninterested in first 3 years of study and hence the results)
Started work in Oct 2010.
Set my heart on project line since doing internship at Project M&E in LTA building the Circle Line. I wanted to see tangible results of my work and liked the mix of technical know-how, organization and people skills required.

First job...
@ Small main contractor construction company
Project Engineer title
2k salary during probation
2.7k after probation
2.75k when I left in April 2012
Up to $800 in OT pay
3 months total bonus

Work was satisfying but I didn't want to stay as I was working 6 days a week and getting home only at 11pm by taxi each night. Totally drained, no social life and was drinking too much too often.

Current job...
@ Local listed contract manufacturer
Program Management Engineer title
3.3k when I joined
3.5k+ now (1.5 years since joining)
No OT pay
Only 1 month bonus

I now have a life outside of work. Ran a few half-marathons and gained some healthy weight for a healthier self. Traveled to Switzerland for work once and twice to Japan (fluency in Japanese was a requirement for the job). Studying for the PMP (Project Management Professional) without company sponsorship and should be taking the exam in December.

Coming from a basic pass degree and being in a sun-set industry, is my current situation on the right track?

I will like to have the title of Project/Program Manager by age 35 and draw ~8k a month not including bonus. I am not too particular with sort of projects so long as its not too routine, I get the chance to be front line facing the customer and get manage a small team at least. I suppose this is not too lofty a dream?

Unfortunately there is no such position in my company (I report straight to the GM). The highest ranked in my department just have the word "Senior" in front of their titles. My colleagues in my department are at least 10 years older than me!

What can I do? Where can I go (the competitors don't look so attractive either)?

My "specialisations" so far are as follows and I don't mind pursuing them further:
1. NPI of medical device/equipment
2. Technical and business translation/interpretation (Japanese<>English)

Will a (lean) six sigma green belt be helpful for my path?
Prince2? Anything else?

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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 01-10-2013, 07:34 AM
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Anyone? I'm sure I'm not the only one in a situation like this.

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Old 01-10-2013, 09:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aspenx View Post
Anyone? I'm sure I'm not the only one in a situation like this.
think you need to moderate your expectations. the fancy titles are in the banking and finance industry. engineering (and especially in a GLC) is still one where you work 10+ years to become an Assistant Manager. however i observed trend in GLCs of late for re-titling to align with industry. things are slowly changing.

you sound like a GYPSY or unicorn. read this: Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy | Wait But Why

my advise to you: titles are not everything. even a receptionist is an "office manager" nowadays. just do something that you are happy and fulfilled with and you will get there.

cheers.

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Old 01-10-2013, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aspenx View Post
Looking for some opinions (and advice more than welcomed) on my career path. A little background info first:

28 year old male
NTU Electrical and Electronics Graduate (Pass only. Uninterested in first 3 years of study and hence the results)
Started work in Oct 2010.
Set my heart on project line since doing internship at Project M&E in LTA building the Circle Line. I wanted to see tangible results of my work and liked the mix of technical know-how, organization and people skills required.

First job...
@ Small main contractor construction company
Project Engineer title
2k salary during probation
2.7k after probation
2.75k when I left in April 2012
Up to $800 in OT pay
3 months total bonus

Work was satisfying but I didn't want to stay as I was working 6 days a week and getting home only at 11pm by taxi each night. Totally drained, no social life and was drinking too much too often.

Current job...
@ Local listed contract manufacturer
Program Management Engineer title
3.3k when I joined
3.5k+ now (1.5 years since joining)
No OT pay
Only 1 month bonus

I now have a life outside of work. Ran a few half-marathons and gained some healthy weight for a healthier self. Traveled to Switzerland for work once and twice to Japan (fluency in Japanese was a requirement for the job). Studying for the PMP (Project Management Professional) without company sponsorship and should be taking the exam in December.

Coming from a basic pass degree and being in a sun-set industry, is my current situation on the right track?

I will like to have the title of Project/Program Manager by age 35 and draw ~8k a month not including bonus. I am not too particular with sort of projects so long as its not too routine, I get the chance to be front line facing the customer and get manage a small team at least. I suppose this is not too lofty a dream?

Unfortunately there is no such position in my company (I report straight to the GM). The highest ranked in my department just have the word "Senior" in front of their titles. My colleagues in my department are at least 10 years older than me!

What can I do? Where can I go (the competitors don't look so attractive either)?

My "specialisations" so far are as follows and I don't mind pursuing them further:
1. NPI of medical device/equipment
2. Technical and business translation/interpretation (Japanese<>English)

Will a (lean) six sigma green belt be helpful for my path?
Prince2? Anything else?
After reading through this whole WOT I still dont understand what you are asking. You want to be a Manager? You want to have pay rise? You want to be in the medical device industry? You dont really care about any project / industry as long as you can get "promoted"? I am confused.

I interact extensively with the medical device major MNCs, what I can tell you is 8k salary is only like a PMO Associate in big companies like GE, Philips, Medtronics, J&J etc. and these companies not likely to take in someone with only local small company experience even for such junior roles.

I don't think even the smaller ones like Boston, Covidien, Edwards, HillRom etc will accept you, so if you want to break into the medical device industry, your best bet is to join a local or Asia based medical OEM manufacturer and try to spend 3-5 years building your connection in this industry.

If the manager title is all you want, just look for companies that are generous in their business designation, some of them offer external manager title for people as low as 5k+.
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
think you need to moderate your expectations. the fancy titles are in the banking and finance industry. engineering (and especially in a GLC) is still one where you work 10+ years to become an Assistant Manager. however i observed trend in GLCs of late for re-titling to align with industry. things are slowly changing.

you sound like a GYPSY or unicorn. read this: Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy | Wait But Why

my advise to you: titles are not everything. even a receptionist is an "office manager" nowadays. just do something that you are happy and fulfilled with and you will get there.

cheers.
Thanks for the reminder. However, if I had stayed on in my previous job, 5yrs to get the title of PM wouldn't have been a problem. But I chose to get out. It's not that difficult to get a manager title if one doesn't mind working for a small company in Engineering.
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
After reading through this whole WOT I still dont understand what you are asking. You want to be a Manager? You want to have pay rise? You want to be in the medical device industry? You dont really care about any project / industry as long as you can get "promoted"? I am confused.

I interact extensively with the medical device major MNCs, what I can tell you is 8k salary is only like a PMO Associate in big companies like GE, Philips, Medtronics, J&J etc. and these companies not likely to take in someone with only local small company experience even for such junior roles.

I don't think even the smaller ones like Boston, Covidien, Edwards, HillRom etc will accept you, so if you want to break into the medical device industry, your best bet is to join a local or Asia based medical OEM manufacturer and try to spend 3-5 years building your connection in this industry.

If the manager title is all you want, just look for companies that are generous in their business designation, some of them offer external manager title for people as low as 5k+.
Thanks for the reply.

I am working for a local OEM manufacturer. Although I am somewhat frontline, I don't get much chance to "build connections". Chances for RFQ aren't that many even, much less actually getting a real project. The company isn't exactly small (and certainly nothing compared to the likes of GE etc) but things aren't going very well for my interests.

The whole WOT was very fragmented and there were too many stray ideas. I was just throwing ideas out and yes, it's confusing because I'm confused.

But let's say I want to move into the medical device industry (especially interested in NPI and product development projects), my best bet now will be to move to a bigger OEM manufacturer that has more involvement in medical device related projects? GE and Philips may still be a far cry away but a step ahead is still an improvement.

Please share more suggestions and drop a couple of company names too if you don't mind.

Just for the record, some "managers" even in engineering can get as low as 3.5k.
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:42 AM
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LOL. there are so many project management specialist/analyst/consultant out there making >$10k dun even call themself manager and here we have a 3.5k guy keep wanting to be call project manager

might as well pay $50 to set up ah kow pte ltd and call yourself managing director
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
LOL. there are so many project management specialist/analyst/consultant out there making >$10k dun even call themself manager and here we have a 3.5k guy keep wanting to be call project manager

might as well pay $50 to set up ah kow pte ltd and call yourself managing director
We all have our own aspirations. Nowhere in my posts have I denied that those earning >$10k didn't get there without the right mix of skills, hard work and luck.

Thanks for your great idea anyways. Hope it works out for you.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:45 AM
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We all have our own aspirations. Nowhere in my posts have I denied that those earning >$10k didn't get there without the right mix of skills, hard work and luck.

Thanks for your great idea anyways. Hope it works out for you.
Actually beside having a nice name card any reason why you are so hung up to be a manager? Most people talk about pay, company, industry, prospect, professional development etc but you seem more interested in calling yourself project manager. What you hope to achieve with this designation?
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:34 PM
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Actually beside having a nice name card any reason why you are so hung up to be a manager? Most people talk about pay, company, industry, prospect, professional development etc but you seem more interested in calling yourself project manager. What you hope to achieve with this designation?
I see the designation as a form of safety net. I understand some firms can be difficult with their recruitment process and a suitable title for the kind of work I do should help in the event that I want to make a jump again at that time. Of cos the real skills and experience will have to show for it too.

My goals on pay and company aren't that firm as obviously I may have to readjust my expectations now and expect to do so continuously.

I hope to find some more ideas and plan what I should do next.
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